Posted in Choose Positive, General Inspiration, Hope for Teachers, Note to Teachers

Teacher, I See Your True Colors


Dear Teacher,

I really wanted to write to you this morning.  I know that this has been a difficult and trying time for you.  This time of the year usually is.  I have been thinking and trying to come up with some way to remind you how awesome you are and encourage you to keep going and keep fighting…and I did.

It is time for something I haven’t done in a while – a theme song post.  If you have never read one of my theme song posts, all you have to do is click play on the video and read.  If you can’t read with music on, listen to the song and then read.  Got it?  Good!  Let’s go!

Teacher…no one really knows but us what it is like.  Teaching is one of the roughest roads that someone can choose to go down.  It has a bright destination, but it sure can be a dark path sometimes.  There is no sugar-coating it.  Teaching is tough.

As teachers, we are fighting for the lives and futures of our students.  That is no small thing.  With just that, we are battling some pretty scary and menacing enemies.

Image Source: Wikipedia

On top of that, add the fact that we have “friendly enemies.”  Well meaning people who are trying to make education better are making it quite difficult to do what we need to do to reach those minds in our classrooms.

And then there is the standardize testing…and I will just leave that without comment.  Too much to say…

It can feel like the job of teacher is an impossible task…and it is…it is for anyone besides you.

Listen, Teacher, you were and are cut out for this.  You are amazing!

In everything mentioned above, you keep going.  You keep trying.  You keep fighting.  Because in your heart of hearts you know that you were made for this.

You are a fighter and this is your battle.

It can be a long, grueling skirmish…the enemies surround you…you feel alone in the fight…

But something clicks in for you.  You remember who you are fighting for…and it is not for you.  It is for people, young people, who can’t fight for themselves.  This sparks something deep inside of you and gives you the will and strength to forge ahead.

This is who you are.  These are your true colors.

Not everyone can see them, but I do.  They are shining through…and they are shining brightest in the lives of your students now and tomorrow.

Those true colors are beautiful.  Like a rainbow.

Image: Wikipedia Commons
Image: Wikipedia Commons

You are making a difference, Teacher!  The stands you make are worth it.  The time, energy, and tears are planting seeds in the minds of your students.  And those seeds are growing!

Don’t lose heart, Teacher.  Don’t give up.  You are fighting a good fight.  Keep on fighting and keep on teaching!  You rock!

Love, Teacher

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Posted in General Inspiration, Hope for Teachers, Pep Talk

An Open Letter to Teachers…Don’t Lose Hope


(c)DearTeacherLT2013 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)
DearTeacherLT2013 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)

Dear Teacher,

You are beat up and beat down.  You are worn out.  You are worn down.  This has been one of the toughest and roughest years of your career.

You don’t know if you can do this anymore.

Somewhere in and through the stress of students, parents, administration, and the system, you have lost sight of why you are doing this.  You don’t see the difference you intended to make.  You can’t see the forest.  You can’t see the trees.  You only see dwindling patience, one more student that doesn’t have a pencil, and another email about lesson plans that you haven’t turned in yet.

You are at the end of your rope and it is becoming more and more tempting to just let go.

You are losing your grip.

While you contemplate how much the fall will hurt, can I just tell you something…well, a few somethings?

First thing that you need to know is that you are absolutely, one hundred and fifty percent not alone.  More teachers feel this way this year than don’t, I think.  It is a common thought and feeling.

DearTeacherLT2016 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)
DearTeacherLT2016 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)

Even if it doesn’t fee like it, other teachers are going through exactly what you are right now.  Probably other teachers in your school…most likely the teacher in the room next door.

I know it is kind of messed up that a lot of teachers are in the same boat…but at least you don’t have to be alone in this.

And that is great, but what do we do about it?

We need to remember that the education system is not why we got into this business…we went through the trouble of becoming a teacher because we actually care about students and their future.  The system is what is wearing us out, but the students are who are keep us in.

Unfortunately, we are bound by the system.  How do we work within it to make the biggest difference in the lives of those learners in our classrooms?

I think it all comes down to spending a bit of time before each school day remembering why we teach.  It means thinking about each student (or some of them each day, if you teach multiple classes).  We have to remember that each of those souls are people and that we actually care about them and where they are going in life.

If we do that, it will lead us to think more carefully about our decisions in the classroom.  We will be driven to take stands for what is best for students.  We will fight for what is right.  We will truly differentiate for each child and what they need from us.

As that happens, our teacher heart will start to beat again.  We will find our passion again for teaching.  We will be ready to change the world all over again.

I know this is all easier said than done, but I think it is time we start doing what we know needs to be done.  I think it is time to be brave and bold…for our students good and for ours.

You are a TEACHER!  You actually do know what you are doing most of the time.  You know your students and care about their lives.  You know how to make classroom decisions.  You are courageous!  You are strong!  You are intelligent!  You matter to the future of your students and you are making a difference!

Remember why you do what you do and that you are not alone in this.  Be brave and do what needs to be done.  You will be happier in the long-run because you are doing what are made for!

DearTeacherLT2016 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)
DearTeacherLT2016 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)

You are amazing!  You are awesome!  Thank you for all that you do!  Remember that you can do anything for a year, and this year is almost done.  You’ve got this!  Don’t give up!  Keep on persevering and keep on teaching, Teacher!  You rock!

Love, Teacher

Posted in General Inspiration, Get Psyched!, Hope for Teachers, Note to Teachers, Pep Talk, Perseverance, Teaching Power, You Are Awesome!!!

Do What You Do…


Dear Teacher,

Today, step out in faith.  You know your students.  You know what they know, need to know, and how to get from point A to point B.  This is what you do.  This is who you are.  You are a teacher.  You teach.  And you’re good at it, I might add.

I know, I know.  There are a lot of voices.  There are a lot of expectations.  There are a lot of opinions, best practices, and researched-based strategies.  But…you are the one that knows what you do best and what your students need from you.

I am not saying do not try what you learn in PD, from books, and the latest post from Edutopia.  By all means, try strategies and ideas to make your teaching better.  BUT, I am saying, be guided in your decisions by the one thing you have that is better than anyone else’s ideas or opinions…knowledge of your students.

You know what you need to do.  You know what resources you need to seek out.  You know what needs to be tried for the sake of your students.  You are the key to it all.

Be confident.  Take a stand for what needs to happen in your classroom.  Do what needs to be done.  Advocate for your students and teach the way that they need you to teach.

Will you have to defend yourself?  Yes.

Will you have to take a little flack?  Of course.

Will you be worn out, beat up, and beat down?  Probably.

Will it be worth it?  Eventually…and you may not see the payoff yourself.
Why do it then?  Because you are a teacher and this is what you do.  You care for your students.  You want them to reach their potential.  You are willing to pour yourself out for your students.

wpid-storagesdcard0MemesBaby-Godfather.jpg.jpg

Teacher, you know how to teach YOUR students.  Teach them well.  Do not be afraid to teach the way that needs to be taught.  You’ve got this!

You are awesome!  You know what to do.  Do it.  Teach your heart out today and keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

Posted in Choose Positive, General Inspiration, Hope for Teachers, Note to Teachers, Pep Talk

Two Wonderful Minutes


Garfield Friday – Image Found: http://www.xm105fm.com/2014/01/24/for-the-drive-show-on-your-friday/

Dear Teacher,

For two wonderful, glorious minutes I thought today was Friday.  Then like a slap to the face the shock set in that it was merely Thursday.  It was like a cold water wake up…but now I am away to my Thursday reality.

That reality is simple:

  • I am a teacher.
  • It is a school day.
  • I have a job to do.
  • I have minds to mold.
  • I have hearts with which to connect.
  • I have students’ needs to meet.
  • I have arrows to block from my students.
  • I have monsters that need to be fought for my students.
  • I have content to teach.
  • I have concepts to make real.
  • I have weight that I need to carry for others.
  • I have lessons that need to be lessened.
  • I have ideas that need to be thought.
  • I have thoughts that need to be communicated.
  • I have too much to do and prioritizing that needs to happen.
  • I have a future to affect.
  • I have a world to make better.
  • I have a difference to make.
  • I have students who need me.
  • I have me to be.
  • I am a teacher.

The thing is, no matter what day of the week it is.  You, I, and all teachers have one of the most important jobs in the world.  We need to embrace all that we are as educators.  I hear others (and myself) complain about all that we have to be for students.  I am not talking about standards and administration expectations…I mean all that we have to be for students.  We have to give them supplies.  We have to make sure the get to where they are going.  We have to remind, reteach, and re-give instructions until we  can’t take it anymore.  We have to be nurses.  We have to be moms and dads.  We have to be mentors.  We have to be protectors.  We have to be advocates.  We have to be forgiving.  We have to be patient.  Oh, and we have to be teachers.  We have so much that we have to be.  It is easy to be overwhelmed.

I need to spend more time embracing these all-too-many roles that I have.  I need to remember why I do what I do.  It is because I care for my students.  If they do not have what they need outside of school in these many parts we have to play, then we need to be those things and do so with pride.  This is why we are in this game to start with.  We are here to make a difference.  We need to make that difference and do so joyfully…even when we are too tired to do so much.

And even when it is not Friday.

You are so awesome.  I know you are better at embracing these things than I am.  One day I will be as good as you.  You are making that difference.  You are embracing those roles.  You are amazing!  Keep on teaching and making a difference, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

Posted in General Inspiration, Hope for Teachers, Pep Talk, Picture Note, Poster/Graphic

The Gift of Today


(c)DearTeacherLT2013 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)
(c)DearTeacherLT2013 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)

Dear Teacher,

You have today.  That is it.  Nothing else.  Only today.

Yesterday is no longer here.  Good or bad, it is gone.  Celebrate it.  Cry over it.  Do what you need to do, but it is over.  Done.  Completed.

Tomorrow is just that, it is tomorrow.  It is not here yet.  The worries of tomorrow are always a day away.  The promises of tomorrow are just out of reach.  It is the future.  Not yet.  Not here.  Not now.

You have today.

You have here.

You have now.

It is so easy to be wrapped up in what has happened (yesterday) or what will happen (tomorrow) that we forget that we have the here and now.  We have today.  

At any second, we can look around and take stock of what we have and make the best of it.  Really, all we can control is what we are experiencing in the moment.  Think about it.  That is all we can do.  Act in the here.  Act in the now.  Act today.

We can use the experiences of yesterday.  We can learn from mistakes and successes.  We can use what we have gained and accomplished.  We can withdraw from the bank of yesterday, but we cannot go back and make deposits.  We can’t be stuck in yesterday.  We have to use yesterday to make today better.

Now, we can make deposits in the bank of tomorrow.  That is certain.  We can make choices today that make tomorrow’s today better.  Don’t get me wrong.  We do need to think about that.  But it cannot be all that we do.  Tomorrow never really gets here.  We have to remember to live in today.  Today is where we always are.  

 Today is it.

Today is a gift.  It is what we have to give to the world.  It is where we live our life and strive to make a difference.  It is the now that lets us make tomorrow’s todays better and better.

It is a gift.  However, it is only what you make of it.  Will you make it something that you remember and can withdraw from in future todays?  Or will you make it a weight that weighs you down?  What it is up to you.  It is all in how you use it.  Your attitude determines so much of what today will be.  How are you thinking about today?

Today is all you have.

What are you going to do today?  What are you going to make of today?  How will you change the way you look at today?  How will you make today count?  How will you make today be something you remember tomorrow and lets you be stronger in the next today?

How will you use today to change your students’ tomorrows?

How will you teach them to use today?

How will you model today?

Today is our gift.

Let’s give our today to the world.  Let’s make it count.  Let’s use it to change ourselves, our students, and our world.  Let’s make today about making other people’s todays better.  

Are you with me?

I know I am thankful for today.  Today is mine.  I want it to count.  Will you join me in making today great?

You are awesome!  You make every today count.  I am so proud of you for that!  You are so amazing!  I believe in you.  You are making a difference.  Keep on living today and keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

Posted in General Inspiration, Note to Teachers, Pep Talk

Be The Shark…Just Keep Swimming


Shark Bite – Daily Mail

Dear Teacher,

Yesterday I mentioned that I was feeling a bit overwhelmed with the many things to do and the lack of time to get them done.  Today is not much different…well, in a way it is worse because a pending “one more thing on my plate” has been served to me so I am balancing yet one more responsibility in my now exhausted arms.  BUT, I did feel that I needed to write today.  I am talking to myself today, but you are welcomed to listen in.  🙂

Sharks are awesome.  Not that it needed to be said, but it is so very true.  Sharks are cool.  I have thought so since I was a kid.  I never really grew out of it.  Then again, who has?  There is a reason that Shark Week has been going strong for all of these years.

I have a renewed love of sharks as this is my second year teaching animals (I am a Science teacher).  Sharks are a fascinating fish, creature of the sea, and inhabitant of our little blue planet.  There are so many types and each group is different from the others.  They cannot be lumped all together and very few assumptions about sharks are true for all of them.  Each shark species has its own interesting characteristics and quirks.

One of these quirks you may or may not know about, and it came to mind today as I was think about how I feel like I have so much to do that I don’t know where or how to start.  Some sharks, especially the bigger predators have to keep swimming to live.  Without movement water does not move through their gills.  Without water in the gills oxygen cannot be taken in.  Without oxygen, respiration stops.  Without respiration, well, RIP Mr. or Mrs. Shark.

Movement is necessary.  Movement is vital.  Movement is non-negotiable.  Movement is life.

If the Great White does not swim, the Great White will die.  Sure, it is the big bad fish of the ocean that can take on almost any challenger (I know, other nerd-types like me, Tiger Sharks are actually the most dangerous predator…just let me keep writing).  Sure the Great White is one of the most feared creatures in the world.  Sure, none can stand (or swim) with it present and not be pretty fearful.  However, even the mighty Great White is powerless without movement.  It has to swim.  Just like Dory, Great White need to “just keep swimming.”

You probably see where I am taking this.  I think Teachers are awesome.  We are the sharks of society.  I don’t mean that in the classical metaphor of “shark” for a person.  I mean that we are a group that is very often misunderstood.  We can’t be pigeon-holed together as one type of teacher.  We are all different.  We are not the same.  We have our own characteristics and quirks.

We are also ferocious.  We, in society, are taking on foes that few people want to fight.  We are fighting illiteracy, poverty, neglect, low-self esteem, triggers that lead students in to gangs, environments that can lead to drugs, and so many other things that a list is impossible.  We are big, bad sharks.  We are like Great Whites in this way.  We are fighters.  We do what few others can.

Yet, we need to remember to keep swimming.  We have to.  It is the only way to stay alive.  We have to move.  We have to keep moving.  We can’t be overwhelmed.  We will drown.  We will die as teachers.  We have to keep moving, swimming, and going.

So, when there are a million things to do, pick the most important, choose a direction, and then get going.  Do something.  Do not stay still.  Move!  Go!  Swim!

You can do this!  You are the shark!  Start swimming today, keep going, and don’t stop.  You’ve got this.  Today is yours.

Just keep swimming!

Swimming Shark

You are awesome!  You are a shark in the lives of your students, in a good way.  You are fighting battles that they cannot fight on their own.  You are also busy, tired, and overwhelmed.  Don’t give up!  You are too amazing to give up!  Just keep swimming and keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

Posted in Cheer Up, General Inspiration, Picture Note, Poster/Graphic, Thank You!

Letter from the World (that you may never get)


Dear Teacher,

I know that we all struggle through the tough patches of working in a somewhat thankless career.  More than that, we are often scrutinized and demeaned by people who just don’t understand what we do.  That can be hard, but we take it in stride and keep pressing on, even if no one notices.  That is what makes us awesome.  That is what makes you awesome!

I have put words to the unspoken thanks of students in the past, but I thought this morning I might give words to the unspoken thanks to someone else.  I know this letter will probably never happen, but I am sure that there are those out there who definitely feel this way.  So here is a letter to us from the world at-large.

Know that it is all true, even if we seldom hear it.  Read it, smile, and know you are awesome.  Share it with other teachers and lets get this Encouragement Revolution kicked into high gear today!

(c)DearTeacherLT2013 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)
(c)DearTeacherLT2013 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)

You are awesome.  You are amazing.  You are making a difference, even if it is only in the background where very few see it.  You are making the future, and the world thanks you!  I thank you!  Thank you, Teacher!  Keep on teaching!

Love, Teacher

PS…I know I keep talking about it, but I am so excited about these posters and how they can motivate students (intrinsically) to keep moving and pressing on!  The Motivational ABCs Poster/Word Wall are available in the Dear Teacher/Love Teacher TeachersPayTeachers Store…check it out, if you haven’t had the chance!  The image in this post is one of the printable posters in the set.  Oh, and the posters are on a deep discount sale this week!  You have $2 to motivate students, don’t you?  🙂